Little Giant versus J-Series subemersible water well pumps

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by michla, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. michla

    michla New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    wasilla, ak
    I need to replace my circa-1984 Franklin Motor deep well submersible, about 86 feet.

    I've been doing alot of homework trying to follow the Franklin Motor manufacturing over the years, I phoned them and asked about the difference of their Little Giant brand versus their newer J-series submersible pumps, they so much as suggested they're one in the same--save for the discharge ports which are configured just slightly different.

    Does anybody have experience with both editions of these Franklin pumps and any opinion of one being better than the other?

    1/2 horse residential, 10gpm, 230v, single phase, 3-wire.
    I'm probably going to stay with a thermoplastic discharge port.
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    ct
    Use a Goulds, best jet pump made
  3. michla

    michla New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    wasilla, ak
    Things have changed with Gould, craig. They used to have a Franklin Motor but there was a falling-out of love between the two and they parted ways.
    I don't know who makes Gould A/C motors now, but I'm not paying to find out either !
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Who is still using Franklin motors in their submersible pumps?
  5. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    ct
    My mistake about the jet pump reference....brain fade I guess.

    I have been installing Franklin pumps and motors almost exclusively for the past 5-6 years with maybe 3 motor failures. I have seen Grundfos and Centripro motors fail at a much higher rate than the Franklin.

    Obviously Franklin pumps, McDonald pumps, and off brands like Red Lion use Franklin motors
  6. Texas Wellman

    Texas Wellman In the Trades

    Messages:
    532
    Location:
    SE Texas-Coastal
    I have been using Goulds pumps for jet and submersibles for about 20 years. Goulds didn't have a "falling out" with Franklin-Franklin decided to get into the pump business. Goulds and Pentair got together and created a new company called Faradyne to manufacture submersible motors. Goulds calls theirs Centripro and Sta-Rite (pentair) calls theirs Pentek. It's the same motor I'm told, even had a Goulds come with a Pentek motor.

    Consumers need to remember that at one time Sta-Rite (now pentair) made their own submersible motor back in the 70's called VIP. We had one at our house that lasted 27 years. I know a lot of people will say that they were junk but I saw a lot that lasted 20 years.

    Because my preferred supplier carries only Goulds I choose to use the centri-pro with my subs. I do about 50% jets and subs here so I really prefer to stay with Goulds. I have not had any trouble from the centripro motors and had one failed pentek (same motor) in the last 5 years. I believe that the majority of failures occured in the first 2 years of manufacture by centripro.

    I do not believe that the centripro/pentek are any worse than the avg. Franklin. Franklin had about 40 years of a head start but the quality in the centripros seems to be good.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    a 40-year head start is significant in the fact that key patents from back when will have expired by now

    I am curious why a thermoplastic pump outlet would be preferred to stainless steel. Brass outlets falling victim to the lead-free movement?
  8. michla

    michla New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    wasilla, ak
    Thanks much--that's real helpful info !
  9. michla

    michla New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    wasilla, ak
    no particular reason other than cost. shed some light on the subject while you're at it !
  10. craigpump

    craigpump Member

    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    ct
    I don't know anyone who thinks a plastic discharge is better than stainless, except maybe the guy selling pumps who doesn't have a stainless unit available....
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,127
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    That may be correct.

    GOOD stainless is expensive and hard to find. I have seen some grades of stainless that rust.

    China makes better plastic than stainless.

    Plastic will not last above ground with sun beating down on it very long, in these parts. And cheap stainless will not last in a well for very long.


    To add to the thread,

    I would put in a lightning protector connected to a ground rod.


    Have Fun.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  12. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,464
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    Franklin didn’t use their 40 year head start to make a motor better than everyone else. They used that time to buy out and eliminate many competing motor companies. Every time they got rid of a competitor, they put less quality into their own motor. Franklin had a monopoly on the submersible motor market for many years. I was told the government didn’t see it as a monopoly because the submersible motor market is such a small part of the overall motor market, but make no mistake about it, it was a monopoly.

    When Franklin bought out Jacuzzi and got into the pump business, they thought they would use their monopoly on motors to drive several other pump companies out of business. They tried to pull their motors from other manufacturers like Goulds and Sta-Rite (Pentair). A judge made them honor a contract which meant they had to supply Goulds and Pentair for another year or so. During that time Goulds and Pentair partnered up to make a new motor as quickly as possible. If they hadn’t gotten that Faradyne motor in production before their contract with Franklin ran out, they would effectively have been out of business.

    Franklin had a monopoly on motors for so long, they thought they could get a monopoly on pumps the same way by not selling motors to these other companies, running them out of business. It would have worked to, except for those pesky contracts. By the time the contracts where expired, Goulds and Pentair had their own motor. Not only did this give Goulds and Pentair time to make their own motor, but dozens of other brands of motors are now on the American market.

    So Franklin went from being the only supplier of motors in the US, to just being one of the many pump companies who now have their own motor. Can you say “backfire”. I was glad to see it as they needed some competition. They had been cheapening up their motors for years. Now we have a choice of a bunch of different brands of cheaply built motors. So far I haven’t seen one I thought was superior to any of the others.

    The pump ends are all the same except for the Plastic or Stainless Steel end bells. Of course the Stainless Steel end bells are better. But it is not worth paying very much extra for. I have installed thousands of pumps with plastic end bells. The trick is getting them tight enough not to leak or come unscrewed without tightening enough to split them. Other than that it is exactly the same pump.

    I think it is interesting that when someone calls Franklin they say there isn’t any difference between a Franklin J Series and a Little Giant. This is what I have been saying for years, but this is not what they are telling their contractors.
  13. michla

    michla New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    wasilla, ak
    So what are they telling their contractors about Little Giant vs J-series anyway ? That was my original question and I'd sure like to hear an educated opinion.
    Let me get this straight---you are saying that Franklin isn't making motors that last any longer than other brands of pumps? (your mention of "cheapening" them)
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  14. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,464
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    “Cheapening up” means that over the years they have shortened the motor length and tried new and cheaper materials. The weight of motors is about half what it was back in the 70’s. The trick is to make them run hot, as close to the critical temperature as possible. This shortens the life of motors with average use, and really shortens the life of any motor running out of the normal specs.

    In meetings manufacturers tell us that the contractor grade pumps with the Stainless Steel end bells are far superior to the plastic end bell pumps they sell at the DIY stores. But when I take them apart, all I see different is the end bells.
  15. michla

    michla New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Location:
    wasilla, ak
    So, you are saying ALL J-series pumps are stainless discharge ports ?

    Playing the devils advocate here---could it be the motors weigh half as much and are shorter due to the advance of a lighter materials and more efficient design ?

    That said, show me an industry that isn't "tossing out" quality to keep costs competitive in economically-desperate times this day and age.
    In any regard, we won't see the pride and care that went into maufacturing post-WWII era again in yours and my lifetime----the bubble burst back in the 80's.
  16. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    I wonder if the Pentair acquisition of Sta-Rite was any help in the development of the new pump motor. They would've had their European companies to maybe draw on, too, since I imagine Europe has been able to pump water out of wells without the use of Franklin motors.
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,127
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    A AC motor can only be made so small and still work at 60HZ. PWM motors are a different story.

    You need to use smaller wire, but length is important for the operating frequency. Less copper is lighter also.

    You also have to dissipate the heat, and a smaller motor has less Mass/Surface to dissipate the heat it makes.

    They do have better safety system to keep them from running hot, but they are not made to cycle continuous.


    It is best to buy a pump with a good warranty, and hope the company is around to honer it, when it breaks.


    Have Fun.
  18. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,234
    Location:
    IL
  19. valveman

    valveman Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,464
    Location:
    Lubbock, Texas
    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Goulds and Pentair didn’t push Franklin into doing what they did. You know what happens when elephants fight? The grass (that’s us) gets trampled.

    But Franklin had been buying out other motor manufacturers since the late 70’s that I can remember. Always seemed like the old motor company just disappeared, and Franklins motor just got shorter and lighter. Probably not even anybody left at Franklin that remembers that far back. So they did have a lock on the sub motor industry until the fallout with Goulds and Pentair. Now I think they are all out to sell the cheapest pumps/motors they can through as many retailers as they can.
  20. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    I saw there was a lawsuit filed by Jaccuzzi against Franklin, post-acquisition.
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